Diving in at the Deep End

by Hannah Gallo, Ministerial Intern

My first month at UUCWC has been an extraordinary experience.  While some might have expected the intern to dip her toes in, then wade, and finally submerge her head under, I’m taking somewhat of the opposite approach. I have started by diving in at the deep end and then slowly getting out the pool, in time for my departure in June.

This is not to suggest that I’m already preoccupied with my departure and yet, it is essential to consider how I’m going to spend my time, mindful that the end is a matter of months away. It is with this kind of intentionality, towards what it is that I’m learning, towards what it is I hope to accomplish, that I share some observations of the community as I have seen thus far:

  • This community is hospitable.  I have been greeted warmly, shown where to get coffee, invited to lunch, invited to potlucks, welcomed into homes and yards for lawn games and drinks, and invited to many, many meetings.
  • This community loves to hug.  As someone who is somewhat reserved with physical affection, it took some adjusting to the onslaught of embraces that awaited me in the receiving line at the end of services. And while I certainly maintain the right to offer a simple handshake, the effusive and genuine desire for physical proximity has impressed upon me the familial nature of this group.  You are family. You want to be close. And it’s been good to feel embraced both literally and figuratively.
  • This community shows a lot of initiative.  I am impressed by the breadth and depth of people’s commitments to the larger world.  There is an appetite to serve, to minister, and to heal the wider community and I believe that the work done within and under the Council for Faith in Action is worth feeling proud of–it takes guts to move from the theoretical to the practical applications of our faith.

In closing, I would like to reflect on what I’ve noticed in myself since my time at UUCWC.  Namely, that I feel myself becoming a minister because you have given me the opportunity to do so.  I feel that I have been allowed to embody a ministerial presence because your community is confident and willing enough to not feel threatened by a second minister’s voice in the mix.  I will also say that I have realized that being in covenant in a new place is hard. As we get to know one another, I realize where boundaries are firm versus flexible, where humor is important versus stinging, and where being quiet is more powerful versus speaking out.  I eagerly anticipate more growth and more learning in the months to come.